Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, the Hon J.C. Hutchinson, has reiterated his proposal for a revision of the Agricultural Produce Act to include restitution for farmers who are victims of praedial larceny.
Speaking at the launch of a farmers’ watch in Wait-A-Bit, Trelawny, Minister Hutchinson lamented the low fines levied on praedial thieves by the court compared to the cost of the goods stolen and said that what is being proposed is that in addition to the sentence fine, the thief will also pay an amount equal to the value of the agricultural produce stolen.
Minister Hutchinson commended the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s Community Safety and Security Branch for organising the farmers’ watch group, which, he said, will now become the watchmen for the farms within the communities.
Coordinator of the project, Sergeant B.G. Williams in giving an overview of the project stated that the groups were formed in an effort to combat the high level of praedial larceny within the communities, especially among yam farmers.
Williams said that with the formation of the five groups - Olive and Lowe River, Lime Tree, Litchfield, Joe Hut and Wait-A-Bit- each consisting of over 40 members, there has been a significant reduction in the number of praedial larceny cases in the respective communities.
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The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF) has been charged with the responsibility of driving the integration of the production of primary agricultural produce along all the stages of the supply chain through to value added and facilitating full commercialization of outputs of the agriculture, manufacturing, and service sectors.
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